What nature park or garden made you feel the most relaxed?
Portugal is full of many amazing places, and the Pena Palace in Sintra is one of them. Just outside of the palace is the Pena Palace Gardens, and they contain lush green ferns, ponds, and many paths to explore. Before heading to the palace, we didn’t know about this place. Luckily we knew someone who did or we would have missed it altogether. The gardens are vast and even include a temple with beautiful columns surrounding it. This landscape of nature was a perfect place for us to relax after being in a crowded fairy-tale palace.
Upon leaving Pena Palace, we almost left the grounds before finding out that there were also gardens to explore. We were with a friend of ours who met us through Couchsurfing. During our visit, we split up to explore the palace and thought we’d meet her outside the palace gates when we were done. She let us know that she was in the gardens, and we were thinking “what gardens”? We reentered the park, worried that they wouldn’t let us back in and luckily had no problem getting back in. We are glad we did because the gardens were beautiful.
Our walk led us through many paths with large mossy trees, flowers, ponds, and ferns. It was very lush and green, just like our home in Oregon.
There were many fish ponds which made our travel cat Mochi happy. We were pleasantly surprised to see some white swans floating along in some ponds and colorful fish swimming beneath them.
Off in the distance, we could see Pena Palace perched up on top of the hill. What a perfect day!
Near an observation point called St. Anthony’s Heights, the Temple of Columns was built on the site of a former chapel dedicated to St. Anthony. This temple was a present to King Ferdinand II from his father. We enjoyed walking around the columns and relaxing on a nearby bench. I wonder what it was like back when there were Kings here?
During our walk into the park, we stumbled upon the gates to the Castle of Moors. It was built in the 9th century to guard the town of Sintra. King Ferdinand II restored the castle in the 19th century and made it into a romantic ruin as part of the gardens of Pena Palace. We did not get to go inside the castle as it was closed when we arrived and the palace was our priority. Walking around it was good enough as we have been to so many ruins.
Can you imagine what this view looked like before the city was developed?
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